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August 29, 2006 – Software makers of Paint Shop Pro, Corel Corporation, summed up their annual digital photo study by stating that consumers are "drowning in digital deluge," according to yesterday’s Corel press release. In the Corel Corp. 2006 Digital Photo Survey, an online survey made up of 767 U.S. respondents who took photos regularly, the company found that too many digital camera users are overwhelmed with the increasing number of photos on their desktops and have problems managing them accordingly.
In last month’s predictions for digital imaging trends, Corel general manager of Digital Imaging Business Blaine Mathieu said consumers were witnessing a "digital shoebox" problem in which an overwhelming number of photos were trapped on a user’s desktop and essentially unshared with others.
Since then, the digital shoebox has become the distributed shoebox, with digital photos being scattered between online and offline folders, according to the release. Forty percent of respondents own 1-100 pictures on their desktops and on online albums, and 10 percent have 1,000 or more photos. The trend towards inconsistent photo management stems from people who "find managing and organizing their digital photos to be overwhelming and confusing," stated the survey’s results. Corel found that more than half of people surveyed felt overwhelmed in this respect.
When asked what the source for the "digital shoebox"-type organization, nearly half of respondents said speed and ease were factors. Users also had trouble simply finding their photos on their computers, with 33 percent avoiding organizing their photos altogether because of this.
In addition, nearly half of the respondents do not use photo management software. Of those who use digital imaging/management software, 44 percent of respondents use Adobe products including Photoshop, Photoshop Album, and Elements. 24 percent use Microsoft such as Picture It!, and only 10 percent use Corel software including Jasc Photo Album. Other software use included Google Picasa and Ulead PhotoImpact.
Regardless of inconsistent management, photo sharing remains popular, according to the survey. The majority of those surveyed (86 percent) share their photos with family and friends. The number one method is through email with 80 percent of consumers sharing photos; home-printing came in second at 43 percent. Only 22 percent store and share their photos through online sites such as the Kodak EasyShare Gallery, Shutterfly, or Flickr.
Even with the digital deluge, as it is called, almost all respondents (91 percent) felt that sharing photos created "meaningful, personal, and emotional connections," according to the release.